Lent word-a-day challenge and today's prompt is 'voice'.
When I told my husband Adi that I had a blog post to write on the word prompt 'voice' he laughed.
'Well that shouldn't be a problem for you, should it? The problem is getting you to shut up.'
But he made me think. I talk freely and easily, arms waving.
Yet sometimes when I sit down to write, I find myself writing what I think I should be saying rather than what is in my heart. If I pause to listen, I then hear the Holy Spirit's quiet prompt to 'just write'. Not to be so focused on the perfect opening sentence but to simply jump straight in there with what is on my heart.
When I take those few seconds to listen to Him - usually with a slightly sheepish grin on my face because this is a regular occurrence and you'd think I've have learned by now - and follow His wisdom, then writing flows. And sometimes I'm amazed at what has cascaded down from my mind to my fingers and out onto the screen.
But when I'm in a rush or tired (like being in the middle of this Lent word-a-day challenge), I think I haven't got time to listen to Him and my focus shifts from Him to me. That's never a good thing. At the end of such posts, there's usually a feeling of frustration of not expressing whatever it is I set out to say, and even emptiness. Because I'd turned it into a striving, doing-it-in-my-own-strength, I-know-better-Lord thing.
Sometimes when I'm in striving mode, the blog post I end up with bears no resemblance whatsoever to the one I started out to write.
Of course, that can happen when the Holy Spirit is in the driving seat (so to speak) too, but when that happens it leaves me feeling satisfied and awed. Because He is using the writing gift He's given me to bless others through me. And that's really what we're here for, isn't it?
Mandy Baker Johnson is a private medical secretary and freelance writer. She enjoys blogging and recently co-authored her first book, Drawn from Words. She volunteers with a Christian charity working with women in the sex industry, and is currently researching this area for her second book.